Noodle Night Market 2014, Hyde Park, Sydney

October is Good Food Month in Sydney, a designated month for gastronomy and gluttony.  There are events galore, special menus, and Sydney seems overrun with celebrity chefs. The headliner is Yotam Ottolenghi, and seriously, who doesn’t love Ottolenghi? I am a huge fan of his wonderfully spiced recipes, but I balk at the over $200 price tag to experience the maestro in chef mode (if the tickets weren’t sold out).

If you’re like me, the most accessible event during Good Food Month is the Noodle Night Market which runs nightly from 10 – 26 October in Hyde Park. There are 43 different vendors, a lot of dumplings and baos, deep-fried morsels and yes, there were even some noodles in the mix. But dumplings and baos rule the roost.

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City Market, Te Aro, Wellington

City Market is the brainchild of two forces in the food scene in Wellington, Rachel Taulelei (Yellow Brick Road) and Martin Bosley (award-winning chef of the eponymously named restaurant), situated within the Chaffers Dock Building on the waterfront, behind the farmers market. It was on the list for a wander before I had to return to Auckland later that afternoon.

City Market is opened on Sundays from 8:30am – 12:30pm, perfect for anyone with an early morning craving for a bacon buttie cooked by the maestro himself.

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Auckland Fish Market

When I was growing up in Malaysia, fish only came one way, whole and fresh. No cellophane wrapped fillets, or frozen pieces that clang as they fall out of the packet. Fish came from a fishmonger, – you chose the fish you wanted, and he would gut and scale it in front of you. Sometimes, the fish is still alive, and you have to avert your eyes while it is expertly ‘dispatched’.

I think it’s unnatural to never see what the actual fish looks like. I like to see the glistering silvery skin of the salmon, the surprising bright blue spots against the pink skin of the snapper and the dull green gray of the flounder, with its strangely positioned mouth. It’s good practice to ponder the brightness of the eyes, the springy-ness of the flesh and the redness of the gills as a measure of its freshness.

I’ve been meaning to visit Auckland Fish Market for quite a while. Auckland Fish Market boasts the widest range of fish and seafood in Auckland. I certainly don’t disagree, – the display was impressive. After you pick your fish, and it is weighed, they can prepare the fish to your specifications.

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Pakuranga Night Market

When I think of food at night markets in NZ, I have nightmares of greasy chop suey and hot dog on a stick. Seriously though, I haven’t really figured out what chop suey is even after 20-odd years in NZ, but whatever it actually is, I always think of some stir-fried noodle monstrosity and I have never tried hot-dog-on-a-stick either, my sensibilities would not allow me to even attempt to eat this. I give gratitude to my parents’ valiant culinary upbringing of us kids.

Therefore my low expectations were completely blown to smithereens entering the Pakuranga Warehouse carpark where the Night Market was held. To my surprise, this is well-organised and boasted over 50 different food stalls.

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